Fresh Fettuccine with Broccoli Raab in a Lemony Tomato Sauce – Recipe

Fresh fettuccine, broccoli raab, light tomato sauce with white and lemon
Fresh fettucini, broccoli raab, light tomato sauce with white wine and lemon

From May through October, we have a farmer's market on my day off, just a couple of blocks from my house. Our regular ritual is to swing by in the afternoon, select what looks great, then walk home and figure out what to cook with our bounty.

If I don't have another plan, I'll often pick up a pound of fresh pasta from one of the vendors to serve as the base for improvisation. There was beautiful broccoli raab, and that got me thinking of a Sicilian style dish I'd had at Odd Fellows Cafe, with pine nuts and golden raisins. That wouldn't work for my family, but the buttery, light tomato sauce would be a hit.

Fresh pasta doesn't generally enjoy a full-bodied tomato "gravy" like you would serve with dried spaghetti. The style we are doing today is a much lighter broth of tomato juice, white wine and lemon, all emulsified with butter, which coats the noodles without overwhelming their delicate flavor.

If you don't have broccoli raab, you could do this same dish with zucchini or summer squash. Fresh basil would be a delicious addition as well.

When I want to cook with white wine but don't feel like opening a bottle, I often use dry vermouth, which I always have on hand. (Martini time can strike without warning). Vermouth keeps pretty well, so I don't have to use it up the same day, and I love the flavor it imparts.

Fresh Fettuccine with Broccoli Raab and Light Tomato Sauce
Serves 3-4

  • 1 bunch of broccoli raab (enough that you can't quite get your hand around it)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes in juice, preferably San Marzano type
  • 1/2 white onion, finely diced
  • pinch of chili flakes
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine or vermouth, divided
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano
  • 1 pound fresh (not dried) fettuccine
  • big handful of flat-leaf parsley or basil leaves, roughly chopped
  1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Boil the broccoli raab until tender, remove (leaving the water for the pasta), and shock in ice water to retain color.
  2. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Do not burn it. Add the garlic, onion, chili flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and saute for three minutes, until softened. At this point your house will be fragrant and diners may start wandering in with wild looks in their eyes.
  3. Whisk the butter and onions while drizzling in the juice from the tomato can. You want to get the butter to emulsify, as in a beurre blanc, or in this case a beurre rouge. If it gives you any trouble, just start whisking in a little more cold butter. Then add the tomato chunks, 1/2 cup of the wine, and the lemon juice. Bring to a slow simmer and reduce a little, until it coats the back of a spoon. Taste and adjust the seasoning; it probably needs more salt and possibly lemon juice.
  4. Preheat a serving platter or bowl in the oven (200 degrees F is good).
  5. When you are nearly ready to serve, add the broccoli raab back to the sauce to reheat, and boil the pasta. Fresh pasta usually takes about 3 minutes. When it is al dente, immediately strain it and toss it in the skillet with the sauce and the remaining 1/4 cup of wine. Toss the sauce, pasta, half the cheese, and a few grinds of black pepper together until the noodles are coated.
  6. To serve, use tongs to put the noodles on the serving platter. Pour the rest of the sauce, which won't have mixed in too well, over the top, distributing the broccoli raab and tomatoes. Top with the rest of the cheese, more black pepper, and the parsley or basil and eat immediately.
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Posted by Michael Natkin on Thursday, May 20th, 2010 in Main Courses, Recipes.

17 Responses to “Fresh Fettuccine with Broccoli Raab in a Lemony Tomato Sauce – Recipe”

  1. Reply
    May 20, 2010 at 9:04 am #

    Love your fettuccine, yammy!!

  2. Reply
    May 20, 2010 at 12:20 pm #

    That looks so yum! And it’s so easy to make too.

  3. Reply
    May 20, 2010 at 4:18 pm #

    I just love the idea of dropping by next door and picking up stuff to cook for dinner! Reminds me of home 🙂

    Among the pastas, I love fettucine and spaghetti the most. One of my goals this year is to ‘make’ pasta. I’m not sure I will be able to make either type of pasta, but if I do make any pasta, I think I will use this sauce!


  4. Reply
    May 20, 2010 at 5:24 pm #

    I kinda have the same idea where I look at the weekly ad to see what’s on sale at the local grocery store and then plan my meals around it. It makes planning dinners fun and exciting!

  5. Reply
    May 20, 2010 at 8:15 pm #

    Looks tasty! I might have to try with some GF pasta.
    I might have to buy some vermouth to keep around since I just don’t drink wine often. Is it a good sub in most recipes or just this one in particular?

  6. Reply
    May 20, 2010 at 8:52 pm #

    Let me know if you make this again, or any variation, and need tasters!

  7. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    May 20, 2010 at 9:55 pm #

    Hi Renee – I think vermouth works well in many recipes that call for white wine. The flavor is a little different but I think it is pretty compatible in most cases.

  8. Reply
    May 21, 2010 at 8:40 pm #

    Great recipe, Mike..

    Yaay for farmers markets! but i think that the west coast is blessed with better ones.. this looks quite fresh, and i like the part about diners wandering in with wild i could actually picturize it!

  9. Reply
    May 22, 2010 at 4:33 pm #

    Made this for dinner last night and it got rave reviews from my guests. Great recipe.

  10. Reply
    May 22, 2010 at 6:10 pm #

    That’s so true about fresh pasta. You don’t have to weigh it down with a heavy sauce. The lightest ones sometimes are the best and do it the most justice.

  11. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    May 22, 2010 at 9:02 pm #

    Thanks Josh! I'm glad it was a hit.

  12. Reply
    May 22, 2010 at 9:53 pm #

    That looks delicious! Do you live in the CD?

  13. Reply
    May 26, 2010 at 7:17 pm #

    This looks absolutely delicious! Is there a substitute for white wine? I prefer to avoid alcohol in our food.

  14. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    May 28, 2010 at 11:41 am #

    Verjus is a good non-alcoholic substitute for wine. Probably use about 1/4 as much verjus as you would wine. Here's a link for it: link to . It is also good in salad dressings.

  15. Reply
    June 1, 2010 at 1:14 pm #

    Thank you! I will look for it in Whole foods too.

  16. Reply
    June 3, 2010 at 5:43 am #

    It looks just delicious!

    I love a touch of chili with fresh pasta.

    Nice recipe +_+

  17. Reply
    September 2, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

    Made this last night and there were no left overs! Next time I think I would add more broccoli raab and finish with a touch of lemon zest. I used a dry white wine, because after researching how to store vermouth, I realized my vermouth has been sitting in the wine rack, unrefrigerated, for the past month or so. Note to self: buy new bottle of vermouth, store in fridge after opening. Thanks for your wonderful recipe…my sons are quite the food critics and they could not get enough of this pasta dish!

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